SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for “Crisis on Earth-X, Part 4,” the fourth episode of this year’s Arrowverse crossover.
A member of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has met his end. In “Crisis on Earth-X,” this year’s Arrowverse crossover, Firestorm member Martin Stein was critically injured in an attempt to return to Earth-1 and later died of his injuries.
The beginning of the end happened when Firestorm decided to split up during their fight against a Nazi army on Earth-X. In an effort to cross the temporal gateway, Firestorm first had to gain control over the mechanics behind it. “Hold on, that’s an automated power cell. We need to activate it before using the control,” Stein pointed out when the two were still joined.
“I can hot-wire it, no problem,” Jax answered, to which Stein said, “Then I’ll turn on the console.” Jax asked if he was sure about splitting up, and they broke apart with Stein’s charge of, “Let’s kick some ass, Jefferson.”
After Jax went and tackled the power cell, he became trapped behind the console under Nazi fire. Realizing this, Stein ran to the control, despite the danger of crossing the floor with no cover. He was subsequently shot in the back and collapsed to the ground. The bullet wound didn’t kill him right away; he was still able to crawl over to the console and flip the switch, activating the temporal gateway and allowing the Arrowverse heroes (plus The Ray and Citizen Cold) to return to Earth-1.
Jax merged with Stein once again, carrying him back to Earth-1 and the Waverider. He managed to give Stein over to Gideon’s care before collapsing himself; their psychic link was affecting his own body, so that Stein’s wounds were killing him as well. “Even though Jax isn’t injured, their life functions must still be linked somehow,” Caitlin explained. However, they couldn’t unlink the two, because Jax’s life force was the only thing keeping Stein alive: “Jax is basically functioning as a human life support machine.”
Stein soon woke up and begged Jax to come over so that he could tell him something. “Can’t you see that I’m dying?” he asked Jax. “I’m old, Jefferson, and even if I hadn’t been shot, no one lives forever… as long as we’re connected, I’m nothing more than an anchor around your neck, which is why you must help me.” He then indicated that he wanted Jax to drink the Firestorm cure, which would sever their connection and allow Jax to be Firestorm on his own.
“I’m asking you to let me die so that you may live,” Stein explained. “I know you think you’re strong enough for both of us, but — unless I do this — we’ll both die. You have your whole life ahead of you. But now it’s time for you to let me go… When you think about it, compared to the cosmos, one’s life is just but a blink of an eye. You once told me that I was like your father, and I said you were my son. How could a father do anything less?”
Sobbing, Jax handed the vial to Stein, who drank the Firestorm cure within. “Stay with me, please,” Stein said, holding Jax’s hand. “I’d prefer not to be alone. Please tell Clarissa and Lily that I love them. Thank you, Jefferson, for the adventure of a lifetime. I hope your life is long and full of love, just as mine has been.” With that, Stein closed his eyes and passed away.
Stein’s death gave the Arrowverse’s heroes the motivation they needed to defeat the Earth-X villains once and for all and provided the finale with some gut-wrenching moments, like the scene where Jax delivered the bad news to Stein’s wife Clarissa and his daughter Lily. Jax also delivered a eulogy to memorialize Stein towards the end of the episode.
Reports that Victor Garber, who plays Stein, was going to exit the show have been circulating since early October. Over the first half of Season 3, Stein looked for ways to split away from Firestorm, so that he could return home to his family and retire from adventuring. This adds an even more tragic element to his death, which provided an otherwise heroic exit for the character.
This year’s four-part crossover “Crisis on Earth-X” will air across two nights, beginning Monday, Nov. 27 with Supergirl and Arrow (on a special night for one week only) and concluding Tuesday, Nov. 28 with The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow.
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